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Michael Geller

Principal Bass

Principal Bass Michael Geller shared his thoughts, in his own words.

"I've played 46 seasons in the Lyric Opera Orchestra, joining in 1972. During those years it was a real pleasure and thrill to have played with some of the greatest singers of that era such as Luciano Pavarotti's Lyric debut, Placido Domingo, Alfredo Kraus, Mirella Freni, Nicolai Ghiaurov, and many many more. I've had the opportunity to play the bass solo from Rigoletto and the section solo from Otello many times, something many bass players never get to experience.

The sound Maestro Bartoletti got from the orchestra will always be remembered even if more information was needed from his stick occasionally!

If I had to pick one highlight it would be the Zubin Mehta Ring, and I was lucky enough to play three Ring cycles.  Other high points were Peter Grimes with Jon Vickers, Lucia with Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti, and Meistersinger with Christian Thielemann.

It was very interesting to have served on two negotiating committees back in the ‘70s when the final deals were struck in the City of Chicago Mayor's office.....Bilandic and Byrne.  The deal in Jane Byrne's office was the beginning of the expansion of the Lyric Season by 2 weeks a year over a 3-year period.

Probably one of the most unusual things to have happened in my 46 seasons was during a performance of Falstaff with James Conlon conducting. At that time the basses were sitting in the middle of the pit against the wall without any overhang. The performance was less than a minute from the end when one of the choristers’ costumes caught on a planter box of flowers at the edge of the stage (no safely net then). Out of the corner of my eye I saw this planter box falling into the pit, landing in between me, Brian Ferguson (Assistant Principal Bass) and Marie Moulton (2nd Flute). If someone had tried to aim and throw it in that spot, it would have been impossible. Fortunately nobody was hurt and nothing was damaged. The looks on Maestro Conlon's and Ardis Kranik's faces were priceless, as they saw this falling before I did.

I will miss the camaraderie of working with great colleagues in a great bass section as well as colleagues throughout the rest of the orchestra.

I've not yet decided what I will do with my newly found freedom from September through March, but I know now I'll be able to do some of the things I've always wanted to, like see New England fall color!"

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Michael Geller: About Us
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